May 9, 2011 (Brian Moore)

Home prices double dipped in April 2011 as home prices dropped nationally 0.7 percent below the prior lows experienced in March 2009 according to the latest Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report released by housing data firm Clear Capital.

Nationally, quarterly home prices have declined 4.9 percent, while year-over-year prices have decreased 5.0 percent. Over the last nine months, home prices have fallen 11.5 percent, a rate of decline not seen since 2008. All the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) suffered quarter-over-quarter price declines.

REO saturation rates continued to steadily climb, reaching 34.5 percent of all sales, the ninth consecutive month that REO sales have increased.

“The latest data through April shows a continued increase in the proportion of distressed sales that are taking hold in markets nationwide,” said Dr. Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “With more than one-third of national home sales being REO, market prices are being weighed down as many markets have not regained enough footing to withstand the strain of the high proportion of REO sales.”

Of the four regions, only the Midwest has yet to double dip. Citing the effects of the increased distressed sales activity, Clear Capital declared last month that the Western region was the first to double dip, followed by the South and Northeast this month for the same reason.

All quarterly price changes in the top 15 major markets slid into negative territory as REO saturation climbed among 11 of the 15 of the highest performing markets (led by the 53.7% rate in Las Vegas). Year-over-year price changes in 13 of the 15 markets slid into negative territory.

The MSA’s with the worse quarter-over-quarter price declines were Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Michigan (-13.4%), Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut (-12.8%), Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin (-12.6%), Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio (-11.2%), and Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Illinois (-9.7%). Seven of the lowest performing MSA’s are from the Midwest with Detroit remaining the worst performing market for the fourth consecutive month.

The highest performing MSA’s were Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, North Carolina (-1.4%), Washington DC-Arlington-Alexandra, Virginia (-1.6%), Tucson, Arizona (-1.7%), Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (-1.7%), and Philadelphia PA-Camden NJ-Wilmington DE (-2.2%).

Clear Capital remains hopeful of a spring home sales revival following the new lows in home prices this past winter but remains cautious as they note that this will be the first year since 2008 that the home buying season is not accompanied by some type of homebuyer tax assistance program and the last time that happened, home prices fell sharply.

You can read the report in its entirety on Clear Capitals website.

Tags: Clear Capital, Home Data Index, HDI, Market Report, price declines, double dip, REO saturation rates, distressed sales, homebuyer assistance program, housing prices